Level of fish stocks sustainability rises

Domestic fish stocks monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are overall improving in their level of sustainability, according to NOAA’s latest report to Congress.

Federal officials noted in their release of the Status of U.S. Fisheries Annual Report to Congress on Aug. 2 that the vast majority of 479 federally-managed stocks or stock complexes were at sustainable population levels in 2018, and the number of domestic fish stocks subject to overfishing remains at a near all-time low.

Of all the federally managed stocks in Alaska, only blue king crab in the Saint Matthew Island fishery were added to the overfished list, as were silver salmon in certain fisheries of Washington state and king salmon in two specific fisheries of Oregon and California.

NOAA officials put a stock on the overfishing list when the harvest rate of that species is too high in relation to its maximum sustainable yield. Stocks are considered to be overfished when the population size is too low, jeopardizing the stock’s ability to produce its maximum sustainable yield.

The annual report, established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, also notes total number of stocks listed as overfish did increase, due to a number of factors including those outside the control of domestic fisheries management, federal officials said.